The world, economy and technology is evolving and so should businesses. To stay competitive in the changing world all the aspects of a life of a company should change with it. But how to do it? How to chase the competitors? How to choose the technology that should be upgraded? Answers to these questions are never the same because they concern different companies. But the world is full of skilled and experienced advisors and organisations promoting innovation and development of industries and companies. One of them is Innovate UK, which runs a number of funding competitions to support innovation in a range of different sectors and expertise, for example:
Companies may take part in these competitions to find a solution for a certain problem and win a governmental grant. It is very prestigious prize to be the UK Innovation Fund winner and it can be the factor boosting any company`s innovation and research and development to reach higher levels of advancement.
Innovate UK is a part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.
Innovate UK drives productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas.
We connect businesses to the partners, customers and investors that can help them turn ideas into commercially successful products and services and business growth.
We fund business and research collaborations to accelerate innovation and drive business investment into R&D. Our support is available to businesses across all economic sectors, value chains and UK regions.
For more information visit www.innovateuk.ukri.org
What is more, through the competitions and many other ways, Innovate UK wants to enable, support and reduce the risks of innovation. According to them, the innovation can be achieved by collaboration between stakeholders and in this situation, everybody is a winner. Since 2007, they have invested around £2,5 billion in businesses all over the UK, matched by £1,8 billion from industry. What’s more, they pride themselves that they helped 8,500 organisations with projects estimated to add more than £18 billion to the UK economy and create 70,000 jobs.
These numbers are huge and it is always easier to imagine with examples but fortunately, in this case they are easy to find.
At the end of November 2017 another competition started where small and medium UK businesses could apply for a share of up to £4 million and work alone or cooperate with others on solving healthcare challenges. It was named Biomedical Catalyst 2017. The competition was closed on February 2018 and met with many positive opinions. But what was it about?
According to the governmental Innovation Funding Service the aim was to support the development of innovative healthcare products, technologies and processes. These could include:
The work was divided into stages and were designed to help SMEs developing the product, service or process an innovative solution to health and care challenges.
The size of the project raged between £200,000 and £4 million and should have lasted from 12 to 36 months.
To find more information about this project visit the official website GOV.UK
In the beginning of 2018, the project QuickFit was announced the winner of the Biomedical Catalyst 2017 competition. The project aim was to develop a way of quick fitting prosthetic sockets for above knee amputees. The team wanted to reduce the time of fitting the sockets from months to days and increase the comfort of the patients. QuickFit was designed to help people get better faster but also to help the economy. It was proven that it would save a lot of public money and the return of investment would be very quick. After months of work the concept was evaluated by the assessors and jury who later gave feedback about the work. One of them stated that:
A well rounded and diverse team covering all necessary skill sets and expertise required to deliver the proposals objectives[…]
Right now, one year later after the beginning of the competition, the QuickFit project is at the beginning of the implementation process and in a few years we will be able to see the results by ourselves.
TO SUM UP
The UK Innovation Fund and the competitions give many companies a chance to develop and boost the innovation. Winning a governmental grant in this field is a great honour especially when the project can actually help people and increase their comfort of living. We, as Headchannel team are proud of the achievements and the effort that we have put into this initiative.